THE HOODED HORSEMANMedium: Comic books
Published by: American Comics Group (ACG)
First Appeared: 1950
Creators: Richard Hughes (writer) and Ogden Whitney (artist)
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By 1950, western genre heroes who concealed their identities were nothing new. Even The Lone Ranger wasn't the first, and at that point he'd been around a sixth of a century. They may even have pre-dated Zorro, who went back almost twice
as far. But masked western heroes were especially prolific in comic books, where the idea of a hero with a secret identity, expressed in the superhero genre, had been a mainstay of the medium almost since the beginning. Comic book cowboy heroes using that motif already included The Ghost Rider, Johnny Thunder and The Black Rider.
He may have been riding a well-worn trail, but The Hooded Horseman debuted in Blazing West #14 (December, 1950), published by The American Comics Group. The artist who did him, in that initial story and throughout his run, was Ogden Whitney, who had already done a secret identity guy, Skyman, and would later achieve a measure of fame as the co-creator of Herbie, who also had a secret identity, The Fat Fury. Later yet, he worked on The Two-Gun Kid at Marvel and T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents at Tower. The writer isn't known for absolute certain, but is likely to have been Richard E. Hughes (Fighting Yank, Magicman), who edited the ACG line.
The Horseman's true name might have been a secret, but it wasn't much of an identity — that is, he didn't have a life outside of being The Hooded Horseman. He was just like the average non-masked western hero, such as The Wyoming Kid, Kid Montana and The Ringo Kid, traveling from place to place and looking for good deeds to do. He was seldom seen without his mask, and was always accompanied by his faithful dog, Flash (no relation).
Hood continued to appear in every issue of Blazing West, alongside its other series, Bantam Buckaroo, Injun Jones and Buffalo Belle. When the time came to follow the '50s practice of renaming the generic title after its most prominent feature (as Giggle Comics was renamed Spencer Spook and Funny Stuff was renamed The Dodo & the Frog), Blazing West was renamed The Hooded Horseman. It lasted seven issues under the new title, #s 21 (February, 1952) through 27 (February, 1954). Then it was gone.
But not permanently. The following year, ACG dropped a horror title, Out of the Night, and replaced it with a continuation of The Hooded Horseman. The new series started with #18 (January, 1955) (continuing the back-up series, which by that time included Leonard Starr's Cowboy Sahib). This time it lasted until #22 (September, 1955). Then it was gone for good.